Nathan Schneider


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This Week in Student Ministry: Family Blitz

It’s our desire to partner with parents and see our community reached with the gospel.

I want to let you know about an event coming up in our church that’s directed toward both of that aim. It’s the Family Blitz happening on October 2nd.

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Family Blitz is an interactive family event with high octane games and challenges. This is a great event for the whole family and a great opportunity to invite neighbors, friends and co-workers. The event begins at 5:30pm on October 2 at our North Mobile Campus.

You can pick up invitation pieces at the church.

 

I love being your Student Pastor!

Nathan

“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16

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Family Ministry and God’s Mission

Genesis 12 marks a significant shift in the biblical narrative, from the beginning of our world (and its brokenness) to the calling of a man God promised to make a “blessing to the nations.” The man called of God was Abraham and the promise was through his descendants. The Lord, through an angelic encounter with Abraham makes the specifics of the plan clear:

The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” Genesis 18:17-19

As the church moves to a model of ministry more aligned to equip families, it must not lose sight of the ultimate goal. Although protecting our children and teaching them solid, moral values are noble tasks, they cannot be the ultimate motivation for our resurgence of intentional family ministry. The goal of partnering with parents has to be aligned with God’s design for families and discipleship: the advancement of the gospel to the nations.

It’s not that our intentions are misguided; they are too small in light of the God who thinks about and cares deeply for all people in every nation. Churches and leaders must think about encouraging parents toward a role grander than could be imagined by parents outside of God’s mission, which is attested to throughout the biblical narrative.

How can churches intentionally move parents to think more strategically about the way they raise their children to be missionaries?

  1. Teach the Missio Dei. Christopher Wright, in his book The Mission of God, argues that a central theme of Scripture is God’s mission.[1] From the original blessing to mankind to “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) to the command to “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19) to the promised, multicultural experience of worshippers of every nation and people group in heaven (Revelation 7:9-10), God is a God who thinks and operates globally. Our parents need to be inspired by this vision.
  1. Give Families Opportunities to Serve and Go Together. Operating as silos within the church will not result in shared experiences in the home. Children who participate with their parents will see that mission matters for their parents. Recently, a mom and her 13-year-old daughter went on mission together to South Africa. Upon returning, they were already making plans to return the next year. As they began check in at the airport the mom was restricted from traveling because her passport would expire too soon after returning from traveling. Having already made the trip together once, the mom (along with her husband) signed papers to release their daughter for travel. Now, at 14, she has caught a glimpse of God’s glory among the nations, first seen in her mom traveling and now, seen in her parents’ willingness to risk safety and comfort for the advancement of the gospel.

Family ministry models do not go far enough. Churches and ministries must think globally in their attempt to encourage parents towards greater faithfulness in raising their children.

[1] Wright says, “Mission is what the Bible is all about; we could as meaningfully talk of the missional basis of the Bible as of the biblical basis of mission.” Wright, Christopher J. H., The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 29.


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This Week in Student Ministry: Summer Series

This summer, our students have been in a series on Wednesday nights: the SUMMER SERIES (creative, I know)! We’re talking about practical ways to grow as a Christian. This week, we’ll be talking about the place of the Word of God in our lives, how to make it a priority, and specific ways to make it a habit.

Pray for this Wednesday and consider how your family can make the Word of God a greater priority. Consider reading Psalm 1 or 19 as a family and talking about the place of God’s Word in shaping us as Christians.

 

I love being your Student Pastor,

Nathan

“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16


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Recommended Resource: Plugged In

Our family has recently instituted family movie night. We typically order a pizza and gather around the tv to watch a classic Disney movie or a newly released animated film. On those nights where we’re uncertain of what we’re going to watch, it’s helpful to have feedback that tells us what’s great about a movie and what to be cautious about.

That’s the thought behind Plugged-In, a Focus on the Family website designed to help parents choose the right movies to watch with their children. The site reviews other forms of entertainment as well, such as music, television shows and video games. In addition to the media reviews, you’ll also find articles on discerning what media is right and age-appropriate, pieces of information concerning trends in youth culture, and advice on how to sift through media.

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What our family has found most helpful is that it allows parents to know what to expect in movies and other forms of entertainment so that they are better prepared to discuss the themes and messages of entertainment with their children. With Plugged-In, movie nights become a time of family discussion and family learning.

Check it out and make sure you’re informed about what your children are consuming.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23

Other resources helpful for media discernment:

 

I love being your Student Pastor!

Nathan

“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16

 


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Recommended Resource: ApParent Privilege

This week, I want to recommend ApParent Privilege by Steve Wright. The book is a short, easy read, but full of practical advice for parents who want to see their children develop spiritually.41t6Yv8vo1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

This is the description from Amazon.com:

Parents have the greatest privilege of their lives literally in front of them everyday: their children. Pointing their children to Christ, modeling faith, encouraging with words, and showing unfailing love isn t a burden. It’s a privilege. Apparent Privilege will arm parents with biblical understanding and up-to-the-minute research to show them the unparalleled opportunity they have to be the primary influence of their children. It will give parents a biblical view of parenting, answer questions and concerns we all have, and help them understand how Christian parenting must become more than taking your children to church. In short, this book will equip a parent live a life where the difference is apparent.

Steve currently serves as Pastor of Discipleship and Church Planting at Family Church in West Palm Beach, FL. He has formally served as a pastor to students and families. His experience and understanding of Scripture has led him to place significant emphasis on the family for discipleship. He names seven ways that parents can nurture faith in the home:

1. Family Worship

2. Praying as a Family

3. Serving as a Family

4. Passage Trips

5. Journaling

6.  Journey days

7. Family dinnertime

He says this about the need for a home to be distinctly Christian, especially through Family Worship:

If a casual observer were to visit our homes, what practice would he or she see that is distinctly “Christian”? In many families today there is little noticeable difference between the home lives of Christians and the home lives of the unchurched. It should make us wonder what traditions and habits we are passing down to our children. It is my conviction that children need to see dad and mom leading in the study of God’s Word, sincere in their prayer life, and faithfully pointing to eternity. The Christian home has lost its badge of distinction as many families no longer practice family worship in their homes. I believe family worship, or whatever you choose to call it (family night, breakfast with Daddy, etc.), is the best place for our children to learn how to worship firsthand.

How can you begin the process of leading a time of family worship? He suggests the following small steps:

Start Small. Don’t be extreme by setting a standard of an hour each day for family worship. This will set you up for failure. Be realistic on what time and how much time works best for everyone.

Stick with it. It might be awkward at first for everyone (even you), but it will get easier over time.

Be realistic. When and how often should be determined by what works for your family and puts a win under your family’s belt. Some families start with once a month or once a week, some do every weekend, and others fo five days a week. Some families meet in the morning, some at night. Choose what works for you.

Have a plan. It could be structured or very informal, based on a Bible-reading plan or working through spiritual issues or questions. At first you may read on verse and share a statement of what God has been teaching you then end by praying for protection and blessing for your family. Some families have musical talent, and many young children love singing Bible songs. Some families memorize a verse together.

Give it time. Develop a plan for a few weeks, then evaluate later to determine if you need to make some minor tweaks or create a new plan entirely. Don’t worry, God will honor your efforts. He will finish His work.

Make it interactive. It would be wise if it weren’t a one-sided sermon. Make sure that your goal isn’t to simple scold your kids. This is a time to focus on the Lord and His Word, not on our kids’ failures and weaknesses.

Don’t overwhelm them. Make the worship time inviting and short enough leaving your children wanting for more. Then increase the length and depth as everyone gets more comfortable.

Be transparent. Be honest. Be open. Your children know you; so don’t try to fool them. If you don’t know what to say, then tell them so. In those moments, tell them that you are doing this because that is what the Bible tells us to do, and you are all learning this together.

One final word of advice: get to know parents who already have a set plan for family worship. Ask them questions. Learn from them, but understand that just because something works for their family doesn’t mean it will work for yours. The specifics of family worship are not spelled out in the Bible, but it is very clear that it is our responsibility and privilege as parents. I also encourage you to use the bible as your curriculum. There is so much confusion about which curriculum works with which age and whether or not your kids will like it. You can avoid these curriculum worries simply by going to the Bible.

Take a step of faith by submitting to God’s design for YOU to be the primary nurturer of your child(ren)’s faith. This book is simply one tool that will help you take that role seriously and give you practical advice to help you get there.

I love being your Student Pastor!

Nathan

“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16


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This Week in Student Ministry: Karis Joy!

In the midst of a busy summer, I wanted to pause and thank you for your support and encouragement this past week. Michelle and I were full of joy to welcome our daughter, Karis Joy, into the world on Tuesday, May 26th. Both Michelle and Karis are doing great!

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16

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Photo Credit: Emily Bass Photography


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This Week in Student Ministry: Memorial Day and Family

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Memorial Day is for remembering those who have lost their lives while serving our country. It’s also become a day for treasuring those who are closest to us and still with us. Most families can be found somewhere together, grilling out or by the pool (those were my experiences growing up).

Let me encourage you to take advantage of days like today (and any day) to talk with your children about the most important things. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Moses commands the Israelites of what is most important and then, the need to pass it on to the next generation. How was this truth and belief in God going to be transferred? It would be passed to the next generation through formal teaching and informal, as-you-go living. Listen to the words of the Lord through Moses:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The key to effective discipleship in your home is the passing on of your faith in everyday life and conversations. Moses reminds the people to talk about the things of God. There’s no secret formula, but simply a charge to be intentional about conversations in day to day situations. This passage could say, “Talk about them when you’re grilling out for Memorial Day, when you’re on vacation, when you’re driving to vacation, as you’re sharing war stories, etc.”

Have a conversation today about what matters. Tell your children stories about those who gave their lives serving their country, for something bigger than themselves. Remind them that there is something bigger than all of us worth giving our lives to – the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remind them that as believers we have hope not only in this life, but in the next. Ask, “Does this hope of eternal life change the way we should live our lives?”

Simply put: every conversation matters.

Photo credit: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/safe-memorial-day/story?id=31240763